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When morn dawns optimistically,
Like all the morns before,
No thought have we for jeopardy
That could be yet in store;

No thought for smoke or lives at stake
Or bodies in the street,
For blasts and chaos in their wake
Or desperate, dazed retreat;

No thought for tears and tattered nerves
And hopes soon left for dead,
Or courage once in vast reserves
Reduced to helpless dread.

No thought for such, and why should we
Let life be worry-marred?
That’s how we maintain normalcy
And why we’re caught off-guard.

MPAA rating: R

In the unnerving tradition of The Twilight Zone, Right at Your Door thrusts ordinary people into an  alarming situation, a worst-case scenario that is compellingly realistic because it is so possible. As Brad (Rory Cochrane) bids farewell to his wife Lexi (Mary McCormack) as she heads to work in Los Angeles, a typical day takes a sharp turn when the news reports explosions downtown. His incredulous panic growing, Brad listens as reporters give ever-worsening descriptions of the damage done by a suspected dirty bomb. When Brad tries to reach Lexi and is forced to return home, he and a desperate passerby (Tony Perez) seal themselves into the house with tape and plastic covers, isolating themselves from the reported toxins and anyone who might be infected.

The film’s low budget and limited locations actually work to its advantage, focusing its scope on Brad’s home and increasing the apprehension and doubt of what may or may not be happening. Except for some billowing smoke and ash, most of the disaster is kept to news reports, begging the question of how much we hear is truth, conjecture, or misinformation. The film emphasizes just how little we’d know in a quarantine during a disaster, and as Brad and others must make stressful personal decisions, it’s disconcerting to see how even small impulses or mistakes can mean the difference between life and death.

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Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Chris Gorak, Right at Your Door is a potently plausible what-if scenario spoiled only by the near-constant profanity, which, considering the stressful circumstances, is at least understandable. The three main actors emote that fear effectively, selling the tension that might have petered out with less convincing performances. We rarely can tell the best course of action in a disaster, and while everyone hopes they’ll never have to experience it firsthand, Right at Your Door brings that anxiety closer to home than most disaster films even try.


Rank: List Runner-Up


© 2016 S.G. Liput
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